So, how was your day?

Well, I could tell you about my day … but it would depress you. Oh, too happy? Okay, then here goes.

I was working yesterday, and using my last tank of gas in the generator, as I was going to town today, so no biggie.

Worked past the generator, so worked on laptop battery and 12 v. lights in trailer. Hum… lights went out, so got flashlight. laptop gave out about 1 am, so to bed with Hawaii by flashlight for a while. Finally gave up the ghost about 1:30 am.

Woke at 5:30. Peed, couldn’t get back to sleep, so continued to read Hawaii by flashlight. Then, finally, got up at 6:30 am. Hmmm. water pump on same circuit as lights, so not working. No biggie. I have water in jugs for such an emergency. Made coffee, read Hawaii.

Finally, get up, figure I’ll recharge the laptop on the inverter in the Jeep. Oh? Really? Well, can’t do that, the Jeep battery is dead. Okay, house battery dead, lap top dead, Jeep dead. Thank god the cell phone battery is … CHARGED!! I call the X. “Help!!” His phone is off. We are supposed to meet for lunch in Cambria. So, I leave a msg on his cell, and at the restaurant where we agree to meet. Finally, several hours later, he calls back. “I’m on my way.” He was down by Hearst Castle, so another couple hours. Back to Hawaii.

He shows up with gas for the gennie, so we hook up the battery charger to the gennie and then to the Jeep. 1/2 hour later – nada. So, I said, “I don’t suppose one of my deep cycles will fit in the Jeep, right?” (He brought his MBZ, and one cannot jump start from that!). He says, “No, but we can jump start from it.” And so we did.

3:30 pm, He can’t go to lunch as he has to go back and pick up his mom from his aunt’s, where he had deposited her for the day so we could have lunch. I make it into town, get gas for the gennie, recharging the laptop AND the Jeep along the way. Get home after dark. Not my favorite thing to do, carrying groceries in the dark, especially as every thing is excavated for my next project.

Now, I have more power than I need, but last night and this morning? I was back in the homestead days. I don’t mind washing clothes by hand in a 5 gallon bucket. I don’t mind being without power, but I really hate it when all power is out.

And so, how was your day?

9 thoughts on “So, how was your day?

  1. Great story! And theraputic for those of us who might think we have had a frustrating day – hard to beat yours!

  2. Even though I am sorry for your misfortune, I love how you wrote this snippet from your life. We had an ice storm, here, a little over a year ago, and it is a very humbling experience. The realization of how much we rely on energy. Great post, Kate!

  3. There is quietness in the wilderness without electric power, homestead living can be like that, and enjoyed from time to time. Speaking of Hawaii , my realization one time , was that Hawaii has been above the surface of the sea , for some 25 million years, but the mountains you live on, have only been above sea level for 1 million years ,,,, go figure ?

  4. Well, our day at Pacific Valley School was a busy one. In addition to all the academic and art classes, we took the kids on our first phase of the Monterey County Cleanup. We hiked from the school to Jade Cove, cleaning up the litter along the roadside as we went. We policed up the trail down to the cove, and the cove itself. The kids got a reward with the finding of some really beautiful jade nuggets! BTW, we all have a serious case of jade fever, which has only one cure…and you know what that is. So the other day, I kicked through some of those rocks at Sand Dollar and loaded up with three fabulous green jade boulders, weighing 1-2 pounds each, plus a bright orange vulcan rock, not to mention all sorts of smaller nuggets and medallions.
    Jade hunting is like fishing…”Sometimes you catch ‘em, sometimes you don’t”, and “You do not find jade…it finds you”.

    David Allan said this on April 15, 2010 at 9:31 pm

  5. Reminds me of the day I had a month or so ago when the wood delivery guys got stuck in the mud on the side of my driveway because they stupidly drove too far off the asphalt in wet weather.

    “We don’t have clay like this in the valley!” the driver told me when he saw that his front tires were halfway buried in the sticky mud.

    The driver and his “amigo,” the Mexican he’d hired for the day, tried everything to back out, even tried to leverage the wheels with wood they were delivering to me (!). I had to point this out to them by asking, “Hey, can you not throw the nice almond that I’m paying for in the mud holes?”

    “Huh? Oh! Yeah!”

    So we call the local auto guy in Pescadero, a town 9 miles away, and the mechanic says, “How big a truck does he have?”

    “An F750.”

    “I don’t have a truck big enough to haul him out. Try Curly & Reds up in Half Moon Bay.”

    I hang up and go to call Curly & Reds and right at that moment the power has gone out. No power, no phone. And there is no cell service where I live.

    I suggest that they unload all the wood from their F750 to lighten the truck. There is a cord of wood all over my driveway now. Normally I have the wood delivered uphill, so that I can bring it and stack it downhill. The entire cord, except for 10 pieces they stowed behind the front tires in the mud holes in order to gains some traction, is now downhill and far away from the stacking spot.

    The wheels spin without purchase even though the truck bed’s empty. The power is still out. I’m sick of the driver calling his Mexican day laborer, “Amigo.” Every time he talks to this guy, he calls him, “amigo.”

    “Hey, amigo, make sure to get those logs right behind the tires, comprende?” “Hey, amigo, use this shovel to drain the water out of the holes.” Finally, I ask the day laborer, “What is your name?” But I ask in English because my mind has completely forgot all Spanish.

    “Ernie,” the driver tells me.

    I ignore the driver and repeat my question to the man.

    “Ernesto,” the day laborer tells me.

    “Ernesto,” I repeat, looking at the driver. I introduce myself to Ernesto. I do not introduce myself to the driver, nor do I ask the driver for his name.

    One more time the driver attempts to back out of the holes, which are now the size of two puddles, about 3 feet deep. His back tires spray gravel, wearing two huge shiny skidmarks in my driveway.

    “Damn it!” I’m finally at the swearing stage. It’s 3:30. They got stuck at 1. The power is still out. The truck has not budged. There is a cord of wood tossed all over my driveway and I hadn’t paid for a stacking fee. The wood is downhill from where it needs to be stacked. “Put away this wood for me and I’m going to get help.”

    I have mud flecks all over my clothes, bare arms, and face. I go inside, change out of my work clothes and into a fresh and more form-fitting outfit. I wash my face with a washcloth and put on a little mascara. I redo my ponytail. I put on my hiking boots.

    I walk down my driveway and just as I get to my gate, just as I’m deciding if I will walk to my leftside neighbor or rightside neighbor (both have all the equipment and know-how required to extract this F750 from my driveway and my day), the leftside neighbor’s methed-out son drives along in his backfiring, broken down pick-up truck.

    The methed-out son. I’m desperate. I wave my arms to flag him down. He stops. “Is your dad home? The wood delivery guys are stuck in the mud at the top of my drive.”

    “Get in, I’ll check it out.”

    He seems sober. I’m desperate. I get in. His 6 month old puppy jumps all over me as we backfire and lurch up the drive to my house. His puppy’s licking my face. The cab of his pick-up has mud-caked floorboards, ripped seats, faded dash. As we roll to a stop, with Ernesto and the F750 driver looking at us, the methed-out son turns off the ignition key and his truck backfires as we roll to a stop.

    Meth Son asseses the situation. Tells me he’ll be back with a tractor, chains, and steel cables. I’m desperate. I hope. I wish. I pray.

    He returns 30 minutes later. I can hear the tractor long before I see him. The tractor’s low motor echoes up the gulch as it putters along at about 5 miles an hour. When Meth Son turns the corner of my drive and comes into view, I see that it’s actually a compact front loader, its front shovel full of tools that Meth Son threw in to extract this F750 Super Duty: chains, steel cables, a hook, a shovel.

    It’s now 4:00. The wood guys got stuck at 1.

    Meth Son leverages the trunk of a dying madrone to conduct the steel cable connecting the hook under the F750 to the front loader tractor. I imagine that the strain of the tightening cable will topple the madrone onto the drive, and I mention this possibility. I point out the withered and black madrone limbs to Meth Son. I point out that the madrone is already leaning across the drive. He calmly nods and says not to worry.

    He tells the driver how this is going to work. The driver tries to put in his two cents of further extraction suggestions, and Meth Son calmly shuts him down. Meth Son repeats how this pull is going to work. The two get in their rigs, engines start. Big engines, diesel rumble of one, tractor purr of the other. Meth Son raises his hand and accelerates his tractor down the drive, the steel cable tightens around the base of the feeble madrone, the F750’s engine accelerates into reverse, its back wheels touch the smooth asphalt where all gravel has been skittered from my drive and *pop!* Just-like-that the F750’s front tires are now on firm driveway and out of what are now two giant mud ponds.

    I’m clapping. Ecstatic! “Yay!” I say to Meth Son! Thank you so much! I will make you cookies! I will make you dinner! Thank you so much!

    Meth Son smiles, turns off the tractor. “You’re welcome. I’ll take dinner. Are you still dating Victor?”

    I notice the time. It’s 4:20.

    So Meth Son helped. Wood delivery guys finally left. I got my peace and quiet back. Wood stacked where it should be. And it only took a week to get Meth Son’s attentions redirected, away from me, and back onto his booty call girlfriend.

    Some days, I tell you …

    Your day above reminds me of this day I recently had.

  6. LOL. They certainly share similar attributes, don’t they Anneliese? The price of living in the country along this gorgeous California coast!

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